Richard G. Petty, MD

Probiotics: Caveat Emptor

You may well have heard the advice that we all need to keep the bacetria in our intestines healthy. Countless experts have recommended that, as long as we are not lactorse intolerant, we should regularly take some live yoghurt to "re-colonize" our intestines with nice friendly bacteria.

There has just been a briefing in London to warn the public that as many as half of the "probiotic" or "friendly bacteria" products on sale in the United Kingdom could be ineffective and some may even be harmful.

The experts on the panel included Professor Glen Gibson from the University of Reading who is an expert in food microbiology, and recommended sticking to products made by major manufacturers. Too many of the other productsmight not contain the numbers of bacteria advertised, and the icrobes might not survive long enough in the intestines to do much good.

The evidence that probiotics help is still far from settled, as discussed in a recent review. But there are enough reports to think that probiotics may be helpful for irritable bowel syndrome and perhaps inflammatory bowel disease.

An even newer area or interest in the use of "prebiotics:"  short-chain carbohydrates that alter the composition, or metabolism, of the intestinal organisms in a beneficial way.

Make sure that if you are using a product, it comes from a reputable manufacturer, and that it contains at least 10 million bacteria. And as I said in my title, "Caveat Emptor," "Let the buyer beware."

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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